United States House of Representatives
July 13, 2017
Reps. Blumenauer, Poe Welcome Israeli-Palestinian Water Deal
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Ted Poe (TX-02) welcomed news that Israel and the Palestinians have reached an agreement to provide some much-needed drinking water to severely water-stressed Palestinian communities, especially to those in Gaza.
In May, Blumenauer and Poe led a bipartisan group of members in urging the Trump administration to prioritize the issue of water in its effort to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Last week, while Blumenauer was in Israel, he met with Israeli and Palestinian officials at the highest levels and encouraged them to prioritize water and sanitation relief for the Gaza strip. Currently, 97 percent of the water is not safe for human consumption, and its quality is getting worse.
“We’ve worked on this issue for years now, and it’s gratifying to see a tangible expression of what’s possible. While the agreement is modest in terms of the overall need, the cooperation is significant,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “The health and security implications of unsafe water and non-existent sanitation are a threat not just to people in Gaza, but to those in Israel. We hope this issue will receive the priority that it needs and that the United States builds on its successful participation.”
“Water is a basic necessity for us all, and an issue of mutual interest among people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Congressman Poe. “Today we learned that such a deal has indeed been reached, which not only addresses the vital issue of access to water but could also represent a crucial confidence building measure between two adversaries. It is my sincere hope that this cooperative step will mark a new mutually beneficial chapter in the bloody history of the Holy Land.”
“Bipartisan congressional leadership led by Congressmen Blumenauer and Poe that called on the Trump Administration to move quickly on water issues today bore fruit,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli co-Director EcoPeace Middle East. “The water now to flow into Gaza is the most critical and shows clearly that greater efforts need to be made on electricity supply to Gaza.”